The Web's Top Innovators: Who Do They Learn From?

Posted by Marshall Kirkpatrick on Nov 29, 2012 1:18:00 AM

If you're interested in the process and cutting edge of Innovation, who better to pay attention to than the leaders in the field? Ever since Clayton Christensen wrote The Innovator's Dilemma in 1997, his name has been synonymous with the study of Innovation.It turns out, though, that there are three other innovation specialists online who have the ear of more of their peers than Christensen does. (Only three though, that's pretty impressive!)

Who are those Innovation specialists most-watched by others in the field? Number one is Danish intraprenuership consultant Stefan Lindegaard. On Twitter, which we believe is a good proxy for online social capital in general and where the data about who follows whom is accessible to us, Lindegaard is watched by top leaders in the field of Innovation like Saul Kaplan, Helen Walters and Arie Goldshlager. All those top leaders also follow Clayton Christensen, but Christensen has the ear of #2 on the list, Richard Florida, too. All of these Innovation specialists are at the top of our report on the topic because they're being followed by hundreds of other leading thinkers in the field.

Beyond individuals, though, the #1 voice in the Innovation community, according to the report I just ran on Little Bird, is an organization. Can you guess which one?

If you want to connect with someone relatively new to social media but already hot among Innovation leaders, check out John Wolpert. He's been around startups, IBM and the Harvard Business Review for years, but he just started Tweeting at @Innosanity this Spring. We found him in just a few minutes, as we did the top 500 other members of the Innovation community, by analyzing the connections between members of that community. That's what we do here at Little Bird: we map and graph those topical social connections and then give you tools for engaging with leaders in the field and their content.

Here are the top 20 individuals in the Innovation community online, as measured by connections inside of the big index of Innovation specialists that our technology created. Our full report contains 500 people and organizations, and a whole pile of tools to engage with them. Below, a screenshot of the hottest news today and this week among leaders in the field.

  • @lindegaard
    Stefan Lindegaard
    I am an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship. You can follow my work on
  • @Richard_Florida
    Richard Florida
    Urbanist, Author, Professor, Researcher, Talker, Bike Rider, Guitar Player
  • @skap5
    Saul Kaplan
    Author, The Business Model Innovation Factory, BIF Founder & Chief Catalyst
  • @claychristensen
    Clayton Christensen
    Professor at Harvard Business School. Author of @MeasureYourLife. Tweets with occasional assistance from the Fellows at the Forum for Growth & Innovation.
  • @HelenWalters
    Helen Walters
    Innovation and design writer/editor. Once at BusinessWeek, then Bloomberg, now at Doblin. Writer of @tysst, TED conference live blogger, etc.
  • @tom_peters
    Tom Peters
    author, speaker, professional agitator, labeled the Red Bull of management thinking
  • @ariegoldshlager
    Arie Goldshlager
    Director of Customer Experience Management at KPMG Management Consulting. The opinions expressed here are my own.
  • @jorgebarba
    Jorge Barba
    Innovation Insurgent who's all about making change happen. Creativist. @Disney Fanatic. Passionate about creating a smarter world. Chief Strategist @blumaya
  • @rachelbotsman
    rachel botsman
    Social Innovator. Speaker. Author on the power of collaborative technologies to transform business, public services and the way we live.
  • @CreativeSage
    Cathryn Hrudicka
    Creative Sage™ lives a passionate personal mission to cause the spontaneous combustion of creativity, innovation, and compassionate intelligence everywhere.
  • @socialentrprnr
    Nathaniel Whittemore
    A feed of stories and news about social entrepreneurship, culled from @change and around the web. Managed by @nlw Photo: Chaval Brasil via Flickr
  • @InnovationFixer
    Kevin McFarthing
    Innovation specialist, expert in Open Innovation, Strategic Alliances and R&D.
  • @kiwanja
    Ken Banks
    Mobile technologist. Anthropologist | Tech Awards Laureate. Nat Geo Emerging Explorer. Ashoka Fellow | Founder: @FrontlineSMS
  • @MeansofExchange@bizinovationist
    Clay Maxwell
    Business Innovationist (Consultant) @ firm merging design thinking and business strategy. Interested in anything that creates value for people, orgs and planet.
  • @Jabaldaia
    Jose Baldaia
    Psychologist-Consultant Organizational Behavior and Innovation. Independent thinker Research areas: Creativity, Innovation, Design Thinking, Service Design
  • @chuckfrey
    Chuck Frey
    Author/publisher of the Mind Mapping Software Blog & Author of the new book @upyourimpact.
  • @auerswald
    Philip Auerswald
    Author, The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Economy. @innovationsjrnl, @makersonthemall. Adviser to @clintonglobal.
  • @dscofield
    Deb Mills-Scofield
    Status quo challenger; #innovation & #strategic planning are about WhyNot/Why, AND/BOTH. Has lots of of fun & hopefully makes an impact! Also @bluelobsternets
  • @rachelhaot
    Rachel S. Haot
    Chief Digital Officer for @nycgov. (formerly Rachel Sterne)
  • @Claire
    Claire Diaz-Ortiz
    I lead social innovation at Twitter & wrote Twitter for Good. [Me: Speaker, Author, Blogger, MBA, Stanford/Oxford, Startup Advisor.]

Below: An example of just one of the tools Little Bird provides based on the key influencers we discover. These are the hottest links among top Innovation experts today and this week.


Viewer Comments